November 2016 Theme: Learn

November 1, 2016

Join us this 2016-2017 academic year, as we take time each month to reflect on a theme as a learning community. Hear from students in a personal reflection on the theme, as they consider how the concept applies to their life and work. See here for an overview of these themes, which will also be highlighted in each month's school e-newsletter.

The theme for our school community this November 2016 is "Learn." 

Student Rommark Manlimos has written this month's personal reflection--speaking about his life, family, and perspective. Rommark is a student in the MA in Couples and Family Therapy program.


By: Rommark Manlimos

It was an honor for me to have been invited to give a reflection on the theme for this month, “learn.” Being an educational institution, Seattle University plays a big part in my own learning as I work towards becoming a couples and family therapist. But beyond the significance of learning the theories necessary to become proficient in my field of study, I want to focus on the underlying reasons behind pursuing further education.

Why learn?

In my current context, some of my friends curiously ask me why I want to go back to graduate school when I am already in a leadership role in an Alcohol and Drug Inpatient hospital? To me it is no longer about getting a job or getting a promotion, rather, it is about providing the best service possible to the people I have the privilege to work with, those who struggle with alcohol and or drug addiction and their families. For over the past decade working in the chemical dependency field, I have observed that other family members are equally damaged by the clients’ addiction struggles. As such, I wanted to formally learn how to treat the entire family towards health and well-being.

As a person who has a profound appreciation of Ignatian spirituality, I am inspired by what Saint Ignatius refers to as the “magis” or the “more” in whatever endeavor I have in life. With God’s grace, our magis does not settle for mediocrity but aspire for excellence.

Learn in Order to Achieve Excellence. For what?

The ultimate purpose of ongoing learning for me is to learn to love the people I serve more. That is the bottom line. One of my previous spiritual directors used to tell me, “All of these learnings are not for private consumption, it is meant for distribution.” For the people of God. I am grateful to the professors at the School of Theology and Ministry for not only teaching me about the theories of family counseling but for also gently challenging me to learn more about myself: my strengths, vulnerabilities, and areas of growth I need to work on. The school also expands my mind and my heart to the diversity of peoples and belief systems. The Couples and Family Therapy program being spirituality infused by design and intent is truly a gift because of its attempt to integrate the clinical and spiritual dimensions of a person. The multi-dimensional learning is what educates the entire person.

My learning continues in other areas in my life as well.  I continue to be mentored by wise colleagues as a young spiritual director with Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL Puget Sound). Over the summer, I had the privilege of joining the pilgrimage to Spain: In The Footsteps of Saint Ignatius. It was a grace-filled trip with much learning about the culture and the context where Saint Ignatius came from and, most importantly, being inspired about what I am called to do to learn to love more deeply as Jesus invites me to. The picture below is with my wife, Catherine Manlimos, in Zaragoza, Spain.  I would like to end with one my favorite prayers by the late Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, former Superior General of the Society of Jesus:

Fall in Love

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

*From Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book © 2009 Marquette University Press. Used with permission.